Bill Guerin has hit the ground running with the NHL offseason in full swing.
After trading winger Ryan Donato to the San Jose Sharks on Monday morning, Oct. 5, the Wild general manager kept the ball rolling a few hours later, inking depth defenseman Carson Soucy to a three-year, $8.25 million contract.
That deal served as a reward for the 26-year-old Soucy, who burst onto the scene last season, playing 55 games after surprisingly making the team out of training camp. He scored 14 points (7 goals, 7 assists) while playing mostly in the bottom pairing on the blue line.
It seems likely that Soucy will take on a bigger role for the Wild at some point, especially if fellow defenseman Matt Dumba is ever traded. While the trade rumors have cooled recently, Dumba is far and away the most valuable asset the Wild have as they continue to search for a true No. 1 center.
A few hours before re-signing Soucy, the Wild re-signed center Nico Sturm to a two-year, $1.45 million contract.
It’s an opportunity for Sturm, who has long been compared to veteran Mikko Koivu, to prove he can be a contributor in the lineup. He will certainly get the chance with the Wild not re-signing Koivu and trading Eric Staal.
Originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Clarkson University a couple of seasons ago, the 25-year-old Sturm spent most of last season in the minor leagues. He eventually got called up for the NHL playoffs and saw some action in two games against the Vancouver Canucks in the qualifying round.
That’s where Sturm proved he’s ready for a full-time role. He played solidly in both games for the Wild and scored the first goal of his career in a Game 4 loss to the Canucks.